Getting on a DRP - BodyShop Business
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Getting on a DRP

A body shop owner wrote to me and asked how to get on a DRP. Here is the advice I gave him.

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

A body shop owner recently wrote to me and asked a question I get often: "How do I get on a DRP?"

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I’ve come to realize that that’s the wrong question to ask. The more appropriate question (and the one that has a better chance of leading to more insurance business, if that’s the route you want to go) is, "What kinds of things can I be doing to make my shop more attractive to an insurance company?"

Here is the shop owner’s actual question and my actual reply. I leave it up to you to decide if I’ve given him sage advice or if I’m off the mark. Keep in mind that I usually tell shop owners looking for more insurance work that getting on one or more DRPs will not solve all their problems. In fact, it may exacerbate them.

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Will from North Carolina wrote:

“We’ve been in business for 11 years. We’re a small shop, just me and my son. We’re having trouble getting insurance work. Can you tell me anything that could help us get more insurance work? We’ve tried contacting insurance companies, and they aren’t willing to work with us.”

I replied:

“My best advice to you would be to start tracking your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) VERY closely: cycle time, severity, touch time, Customer Satisfaction Index, etc. These are the numbers that will ultimately get an insurer interested in you. If they’re not competitive compared to industry averages, you may not get the work.

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“Also, little things like how clean your shop is and how nice the restroom is can make a difference. Some shops have held open houses with lunch for insurance appraisers, or offer training at their shop for them. One shop created a safe driving awareness website to help consumers drive more safely and also to market his shop, and insurers were so impressed that he got two DRPs out of it! The lesson there is: run a great operation and think out-of-the-box, and the work will come to you.

“Another shop I know sent an insurer back money because they overpaid on a claim. The next day, one of their reps came by and said, ‘We’d like to put you on our program.’ Sometimes it’s about trust.

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“It’s tough for a small shop today, though. We’re still overcapacity, too many shops, too little work. And a lot of insurers are preferring to do business with MSOs (multiple-shop operators, or shops with more than one location) for consistency and other reasons. These operations can do it all for them and it’s just easier.

“One insurer told me, ‘If a shop wants to get on my program, the wrong approach is to come to me and ask, ‘How do I get on your program?’ What they need to ask is, ‘What can I do for you?’

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“Another shop I know put together a CD outlining the shop’s ‘lean operations’ with photos and everything and mailed copies of it to local insurers. You have to stand out from the crowd.”

In a recent poll on www.bodyshopbusiness.com, we asked, “Do you believe that a collision repair facility has to be on a DRP today to survive?” Approximately 47.7 percent of respondents said yes, while 52.3 percent said no. That 47.7 percent is probably close to the percentage of shops that are on one or more DRPs out there, which makes sense because if you’re on a DRP, it’s probably because you think you need to be.

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The bottom line is that, if the DRP route is the one you want to take, KPIs rule supreme these days. Also, if your shop does notable things, chances are everyone will take notice – including insurers.

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